Nadiya Hussain: Racist school bullies flushed my head down the toilet

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BIRMINGHAM - AUGUST 30:  Nadiya Hussain cooking in the Big Kitchen at the BBC Good Food Show winter  2018 , held at the NEC Birmingham on November 30, 2018 in England.  (Photo by MelMedia/GC Images)
BIRMINGHAM - AUGUST 30: Nadiya Hussain cooking in the Big Kitchen at the BBC Good Food Show winter 2018 , held at the NEC Birmingham on November 30, 2018 in England. (Photo by MelMedia/GC Images)

Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain has revealed racist bullying lead to her first ever anxiety attack.

Hussain, who wowed GBBO judges and audiences alike with her culinary ability in 2015, has struggled with extreme anxiety since being a child, and revealed the harrowing experience which lead to her first attack on BBC’s Nadiya: Anxiety and Me.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II cuts into a birthday cake baked by Nadiya Hussain, left, winner of the Great British Bake Off, during celebrations of her 90th birthday in Windsor, England, Thursday April 21, 2016. (John Stillwell/Pool via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II cuts into a birthday cake baked by Nadiya Hussain, left, winner of the Great British Bake Off, during celebrations of her 90th birthday in Windsor, England, Thursday April 21, 2016. (John Stillwell/Pool via AP)

The programme, screened last night (15 May), was made for Mental Health Awareness Week and explains how the chef’s battle with anxiety, which she calls her ‘monster’, has roots in childhood bullying and serious family illnesses.

Read more: Nadiya Hussain: I had panic attacks throughout Bake Off

Reminiscing about memories from her childhood in Luton, where she was born, the 34-year-old detailed how classmates bullied and racially abused her. She said: “They would wait in corners and pull chunks of my hair out until it was bleeding.

“They slammed my fingers in doors until all of my nails fell out because they were black and blue, and on the last day at school they flushed my head down the toilet - I still have that memory of the water going up my nose and feeling like if they don't pull me up now I am going to drown with my head in this toilet.”

After this ordeal, she hid in the toilets and had her first panic attack.

"If I could erase my memory, then I would take that one memory out of my head, because that memory is always there," she said.

“It’s often an overwhelming feeling I can't control, a monster that stops me functioning.

"Having anxiety is probably one of the most lonely, most isolating things to have because you are your own worst enemy and you live inside your head.”

Read more: Nadiya Hussain attacks critics who say she jumped on ‘mental health bandwagon’

Hussain took to social media to thank viewers for their supports after the programme aired. She tweeted: “Thank you for all of the support on here tonight. I watched cautiously and felt nervous throughout but I really hope that now we're talking about it, we keep talking!

“It was difficult to make but worth every tear and sleepless night! We are in it together.”

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